Pressure! Pressure and pain… and just how much you are feeling in your head can make it difficult to determine whether or not you have a headache or a migraine. Knowing the difference can help you get relief more quickly. So, how can you tell the difference?


A headache is traditionally defined as an unpleasant pain causing pressure and aching. It can be minor or more severe, and they typically are felt on both sides of the head. Typical areas are the forehead, temples, and back of the neck. And, it can go on for awhile. While some headaches can go away within an hour, others can last a week. Generally, headaches are triggered by stress, muscle strain, or anxiety.


Migraines are almost always moderate to severe in their level of pain. They are often accompanied by nausea, pain behind an eye or ear, and pain in the temples. Those affected may see spots or flashing lights and be extremely sensitive to light and/or sound. And what may be the most distinguishing item is that a migraine makes performing daily activities very difficult.


When it comes to treatment, headaches are generally treated with over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or aspirin. It’s also recommended to take some relaxation measures like stretching, relaxing the mind, or even a massage.


For migraines, talk to your doctor about anti-nausea medicines, more moderate pain relievers, and/or triptans. However, some research has shown that by taking medications overly consistently, it can make headaches even worse. It’s best to speak to your doctor about management of migraines.


The next time you have a pain in your head, think through the above about what is happening. If you identify the pain as a migraine, then consider speaking to your doctor about the best path for treatment. Migraines are no joke - they can really affect people’s lives and the lives of those around them. May sure you are taking care of yourself.